Easiest. Composting. Ever.

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Back on Earth Day in 2000, I attended a composting workshop and received a leaf composter for free so I could put my new-found skills to work. It didn't work out, because there weren't enough leaves from the yard, or even in the whole neighborhood, to support the enterprise. I was extremely disappointed, but somewhat relieved, as the composting regimen seemed complicated, difficult, and could supplant my workouts at the gym if done properly.

However, the house we bought in 2003 came with hard, clay-like soil that begged for organic matter to bulk it up. Zed told me we could do "shallow grave" composting; burying our food scraps in the soil, working our way down a strip of land each time, and three months hence, the food scraps transformed into rich, loamy soil.

It was miraculous! How do those coffee grounds, banana peels, and tough stems from celery become rich, dark soil? For one, basic breakdown from micro-organisms, and two: our friends the worms. They feed on our food scraps, and excrete fertile soil. I tremendously enjoy the burying task these days, as I commune with the worms, crying out, "It's buffet time!" when I start digging.

There are many advantages over traditional composting: no heat buildup which necessitates turning or tumbling, no losing yard real estate to a large plastic container, and it requires absolutely no planning or upkeep whatsoever. I had never heard of Lazy Man's Composting, but I think it needs to be shouted from every rooftop.

We now know not to bury eggshells (they don't break down enough in three months' time) or citrus peel, so we are fortunate that our city greencycles but everything else composts beautifully:

spent tea bags, onion skin, old pasta, apple cores, tough butternut squash peel & seeds, stone fruit pits (a nectarine sent up an optimistic shoot one spring after a few months' gestation in the fertile soil).

An unexpected benefit from lazy composting is the harvest. A few weeks after burying a green & moldy potato, that unattractive spud will be a thriving potato plant thanks to the compost soil. We eat potatoes far superior to the original ones we purchased. And don't even get me started on the zucchini that threatened to take over the backyard last summer. A friend told us it was a zucchini and summer squash hybrid, the two plants sent up from the seeds we had buried... so we created our own "house hybrid"! We harvested our "kitchen scraps" for many weeks' worth of zucchini & fried potatoes accompanying our eggs for breakfast.

I will point out that since we're vegetarian, just about everything we eat is compostable, except for dairy products. If you're not, I hear that meat and fatty foods are not compostable due to the worms' predelictions. And those foods may attract the wrong crowd, i.e., raccoons and ants.

If you have the yard space, it's worth trying. If not, there are many, many different types of indoor compost alternatives. Happy digging!

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